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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  May 13, 2013 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT

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you can't love that, that's for boys. tonight here in washington, the one senator who never, ever, ever does national tv, the one senator who is always getting invited on every national television show and not just political shows, news shows, jay and dave would love to have him as a guest, too, in fact he used to be a regular guest on all the late night comedy shows, the
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senator who is by far, by far the most sought after tv guest in washington has become all the more sought after by his relentless refusal to do any of this kind of tv, that very shy senator is going to make his prime time cable news debut tonight here on the last word. that's right. senator al franken will join me. >> i've got no patience with it, i will not tolerate it. we will make sure exactly what happened on this. >> the president could face grilling over the irs scandal. >> irs employees singled out conservative political groups. >> the administration is under fire. >> prior to the 2012 election. >> is it all partisan politics? >> i have no patience with it. >> we had these before. where were the republicans in 2004 sfl. >> george bush had naacp audited. >> there's no targeting. >> irs commissioner was a bush appointee. >> there's absolutely no
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targeting. >> this is not a new program. >> this is the back and forth that happens when people apply for 501 c designation. >> take it away or make it full disclosure. >> what needs to happen next. >> the issue of talking points. >> passionate on the game with benghazi. >> the process has been a side show. >> never seen quite that look. >> the president's anger and frustration. >> this was a terrorist attack. >> focusing more on the talking points than substantive issues. >> no acts of terror will shake the resolve of this nation. >> active terror is different than a terrorist attack. >> the nation praise for those injured in this unbelievable act of terror. >> act of terror is different than a terrorist attack. >> the fact it keeps getting churned out. >> easy politics, easy political hit. >> has to do with political motivations. >> benghazi, john boehner's biggest fixation, he is obsessed with it. >> they're not obsessed with benghazi, they're obsessed with obama.
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if you've been anywhere near a news source today, you know that tonight the internal revenue service is officially out of control and that all of washington is scandalized by the out of control irs. but no one in washington seems to understand that the irs has been out of control on the matter in question since 1959 when republican dwight eisenhower was president. it was in 1959 that the irs decided to change the meaning of the english language in a very important way, and that change was created, created what is called a scandal in washington today, but is really just the irs doing its job. here is what president obama said about the scandal as it has erupted the last few days. >> if in fact irs personnel engaged in the kind of practices
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that have been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that's outrageous. there's no place for it. and you know, they have to be held fully accountable. i have no patience with it, i will not tolerate it, we will make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this. >> well, yeah, sure, if the irs personnel intentionally targeted conservative groups, that would be bad. but what if irs personnel were correctly examining political organizations' applications for tax exempt status? that is not scandalous because that's the irs' job, they must do it. they cannot just grant tax exempt status to anyone that asks for it. the irs has a specific guideline for granting that tax exempt status. section 501 c 4, internal revenue code, defines social organizations for tax exempt
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purposes defines them this way. civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare. then the irs code does a magic trick and changes the meaning of the word exclusively. to be operated exclusively to promote social welfare, an organization must operate primarily to further the common good and general welfare of the people of the community. do you see that? the irs changes the meaning of the word exclusively to the word primarily, exclusively means exclusive. that's all you can do. you can't do anything else. the law's intent is tax exempt status be granted to civic leagues or organizations, not organized for profit, but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.
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it was in 1959 that the irs on its own added the notion that exclusively really just means primarily. so for 54 years the irs has gotten away with the crime of changing the word exclusively to primarily. the irs changed the law. the irs took a hard, clear word like exclusively, a word with legal meaning, and changed it to the soft word primarily that means nothing. left it open to irs agents then to determine if your organization was primarily concerned with the promotion of social welfare. and then in 2010 there's suddenly a flood of organizations applying for tax exempt status, saying they are primarily for the promotion of social welfare, and their titles include the words tea party.
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what planet do you have to be from to know that tea party organizations are not operated exclusively for promotion of social welfare as the words of the law require, and what planet do you have to be from to know that tea party organizations are not even, quote, primarily to further the common good and general welfare, which is the irs scandalous interpretation of the words exclusively for the promotion of social welfare. tea party organizations are primarily, and many of them exclusively, for the promotion of republican political candidates. tea party organizations are primarily devoted to attacking congressional legislation, such as the affordable care act and attacking democratic party candidates, including the democratic party's candidate for president of the united states. tea party organizations are purely political organizations, under no reasonable reading of
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the law governing 501 c 4 organizations would tea party organizations be granted tax exempt status, and yet they were! and that is not the scandal that washington teased, the scandal washington sees is that tea party and other phrases were used by the irs to search out at some point the kind of applications that required more questions from irs agents, that was before the irs decided to use more neutral terms to search this out. this is what the irs does all the time with every tax return it receives. the irs knows they can't possibly audit every tax document they receive, so they use red flags to pull tax returns out of the pile for more scrutiny. the home office deduction is a classic red flag that the irs has been using for decades. if you deduct the cost of part of your home for office space,
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it increases the likelihood that your tax return will be pulled for audit because in the irs' experience it marginally increases the likelihood that your tax return is not, shall we say, perfectly accurate. there's a lot of cheating around the home office deduction and the irs knows it. and because there are very, very few people that claim that office deduction that actually fulfill the strict requirements for the home office deduction, then most of you don't even realize what the requirements are, that becomes one of the many, many red flags that the irs uses in its enforcement procedures. they try to develop indicators of where the cheating might be in tax filings. and there's a very different likelihood in how much cheating there might be in, say, a little league baseball organization applying for tax exempt status
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and a political organization applying for tax exempt status. and if in 2010 there was a flood of tea party applications for tax exempt status and many, many fewer applications for tax exempt status from liberal political groups, then it only makes mathematical sense that more questions would be directed at the tea party applications. so what we have here in this horrifying scandal are irs agents doing their jobs, doing exactly what they're supposed to do. now, what we are not yet sure of is how balanced their approach was to that, how politically balanced, whether they showed proportionally the same sort of concern to liberal political groups applying for tax exempt status. but the real scandal is what the irs did in 1959 when it changed the meaning of the english language and the irs decided tax
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exempt status could be granted, even if an organization was not exclusively for the promotion of social welfare, but simply primarily for the promotion of social welfare. and that change from exclusively to primarily allowed political organizations to buy political advertising in support of candidates or as an attack on other candidates and do so under a tax exempt provision in the law that was never, never intended for them to hide behind. and that is truly scandalous. ezra klein, this is one of those washington scandals where there's a scandal here but i don't think it's what they're talking about. >> no, the intuition people have is exactly on. i'm glad you focused on the word primarily, it comes up in another place. 501 c 4s are special, one thing,
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they're tax exempt. the other thing, they're anonymous. you can't get at who the donors are, it is an unusual designation. the other primarily in the law around them is they cannot be primarily political. they cannot be primarily political. so that meant they can't spend more than 50% on political ads. >> that's an interesting thing. nowhere in the dictionary does it say the word primarily means 51% of something. the primarily would mean, i don't know, 75%, something different from 51. >> this is the scandal at the irs, it gets at what you were talking about in the beginning here, the intuition people have in washington now is that what would have been right is for the irs to let every one of the tea party groups go through, without any look, nobody reviews the application. that's exactly the opposite of the truth. it is not just they shouldn't be
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unusually strict towards tea party groups against other political groups, but it should never have been permitted as a 501 c 4, organizing for america, never should be a 501 c 4. there has been a disgusting, appalling explosion in anonymous groups. the reason is because they have incredibly privileged status and because the irs was terrified going back a couple years getting into a fight like this one, somebody accused them of being politicized. so what they did, they offered no true guidance to people, did nothing about them, and now the cruel irony of the scandal, they'll get that much more frayed, back off more, these things will be more underrated. >> the word attack for the irs has always meant audit.
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that's what nixon did in the watergate scandal, people tried to compare it to that. the president of the united states was saying let's use the irs to audit my enemies, to grab their tax returns and challenge them about what's on it. this is way before you ever get to any issue of audit, this is just you're applying for very special status and we would like to ask you some questions. >> i think nixon is important context, it is why we treat it so special. we are afraid what it can become if the irs is politicized. this is a special designation you don't need to operate, you need a special subsidy, and it should be clear, when an organization is tax exempt, what it means effectively is that our tax dollars subsidize it, we are paying for the groups that snuck in under this designation they shouldn't have because they're not under any stretch of the imagination not political. we are paying them to operate. that's why there's a higher level of scrutiny. this should have been applied equally across the board left
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and right, should have been applied to reject the groups, not allow them to sneak in, get our taxpayer dollars. >> and washington reaction is funny to me. they just hear irs, political unfair, and attack, and most of the commentators on television about this, who many of them are much more careful about other subjects, they just need those words. once they hear those words, outrageous, outrageous, outrageous. >> it rings the alarm bells. >> to be fair, and i think we both completely understand from the nixon presidency, what the worry is. no one in washington seems to be taking time to say let me take a look, what are we really talking about. >> this gets to the underlying issue here that there's something dangerous for the democracy happening, something the irs should be stopping. we are upset about the thing they're doing, we should be upset about the thing they are not doing, just as they can
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attack democracy, they have a role defending it. one role is to not let groups sneak in, taxpayer subsidized and completely anonymous. >> ezra klein, thank you for bringing sense to this thing. coming up, president obama's response to washington's other big scandal. and justice ruth bader ginsberg wishes she could rewrite roe versus wade. and in the spotlight, the most prominent official in washington who has never done a prime time cable news interview. senator al franken will join me. i'm so glad you called. thank you. we're not in london, are we? no. why? apparently my debit card is. what? i know. don't worry, we have cancelled your old card. great. thank you. in addition to us monitoring your accounts for unusual activity, you could also set up free account alerts. okay. [ female announcer ] at wells fargo we're working around the clock to help protect your money
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we didn't have u-verse back in my day. you couldn't just... guys... there you are. you know you couldn't just pause a show in one room, then... where was i... you couldn't pause a show in one room then start playing it in another. and...i'm talking to myself... [ male announcer ] call to get u-verse tv for just $19 a month for 2 years with qualifying bundles. rethink possible. senator marco rubio sent an angry letter to treasury secretary jack lew demanding resignation of the irs commissioner. i strongly urge you and president obama demand his resignation effective immediately.
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the problem for senator rubio is that there is no irs commissioner. the irs commissioner who senator rubio is mad at was appointed by george w. bush and resigned in november of 2012. since then there has been no irs commissioner. up next, what president obama said today about the controversy surrounding what happened in benghazi and senator al franken will be here. [ male announcer ] every inch. every minute. every second -- we chip away. making the colors of earth and sunset skies into rich interior accents. or putting the beauty of a forest in the palm of your hands... it will take you to another place... wherever you happen to be. this is the new 2014 jeep grand cherokee. it is the best of what we're made of. well-qualified lessees can lease the 2014 grand cherokee laredo 4x4 for $359 a month.
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prefer the taste of gevalia house blend over the taste of starbucks house blend? not that we like tooting our own horn but... ♪ toot toot. [ male announcer ] find gevalia in the coffee aisle or at the whole issue of this talking points frankly throughout this process has been a side show. the fact that this keeps on getting churned out frankly has
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a lot to do with political motivations. we've had folks who have challenged hillary clinton's integrity, susan rice's integrity, mike mullen, tom pickering's integrity, it is a given mine is challenged by the same folks. they used it for fund-raising. >> that was president obama pushing back against republican claims of a benghazi coverup. politico says john boehner says when they're focusing on the terrorist attack, they're fighting on their political ground. this is all john boehner said about the focus on benghazi, he is obsessed with it, brings it up all the time. nia malika-henderson, when did john boehner get obsessed with this. the word was months ago he kind of wanted it to go away, they played it for all it was worth. >> that's right. at first you had romney playing it for all it was worth for awhile during the 2012 campaign. eventually he sort of let it go.
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>> getting a little embarrassed bill quiet you down on that subject. >> much to the display of john mccain and lindsey graham who wanted him to push further. john boehner realizes the base has been chomping at the bit around benghazi the last eight months. you had the president come out today say there is no there there. that's true. as much as they pushed this investigation along, had these hearings, issa said it was one of the most corrupt administrations in american history, here he goes with the benghazi hearings to prove his initial assessment. but again, there isn't much there that has come out of the latest hearings around this. and i think what you have here is we're seeing sort of a bureaucratic knife fight between the cia and defense department to cover each other's backs essentially.
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but the president well knows that this is political and i think boehner does smell blood quite frankly for 2014 because he thinks he can gin up the base around this issue going into that election. >> the so-called talking points issue of the memo about what it was really about, i for one thought talking points were ridiculous when i heard them. i never believed the movie was the provocation for this. i never allowed it, never said the movie did this on the show. for the first several days, everybody on all of the shows, fox shows were saying it is the movie, it is the movie. the movie thing never made sense to me. you can talk about the talking points, and that does become just okay, these are the people that put it together, why did they put it together. that doesn't seem to be worthy of this much investigation but fine, let them have it. the other day, last week, it was okay, what happened that night and what you discover happened that night is there was no way for any military intervention from distances where they were. now you have former defense
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secretary gates backing them up on that. no one has come out with any contradiction to the idea it was impossible to get military assets there. >> that's right. i think we're still trying to figure out what happened there. you have the release of some suspects, photographs of some suspects they pulled from some of the surveillance video. still there's a mystery about what went on on the ground, who actually was involved, and you have this president be cautious in jumping to conclusions about any of these sorts of international incidents. i think the republicans have always felt this was a president who was soft on terror, loathe to use the word terrorism. this is part of that whole idea they believed for awhile. >> this issa thing today, drawing a distinction between act of terror and terrorism. we have to hear him saying it. we have him saying this. >> the words that are being used carefully like you said, act of terror is different than a
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terrorist attack. the truth is this was a terrorist attack. >> act of terror is different from a terrorist attack. in the opening of the show, heard george w. bush using act of terror. i mean, saying something like that is the most open way darrell issa can say i'm absolutely desperate, i don't think i have anything. >> right, i don't have much, so i am playing these semantic games around diction, what's an act of terror and terrorism. americans are not keyed into this. there was a pugh poll that showed 56% of people weren't paying attention to hearings. but you have with republicans a drive. this is about the base. they wanted to malign this president for awhile and i think you'll see this play out for awhile with 2014. but the president from the very beginning, i think he won that debate moment, you have romney go at him, emotional talking about susan rice with the press
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conference, a flash of anger and outrage that these conversations are going on, impugning his character. >> nia malika-henderson, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. coming up, senator al franken is my next guest. mine was earned in djibouti, africa. 2004.
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minnesota state senate today passed a bill that makes minnesota the 12th state to make
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marriage equality legal. democratic controlled state senate voted 37-30, only one republican voting yes. minnesota house passed that bill last thursday with bipartisan support. two years ago republicans controlled both chambers in minnesota and put a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality on the ballot. republicans rejected that, sorry, voters rejected that, republicans lost that vote, and control of the minnesota house and senate at the same time. democratic governor mark dayton will sign that bill tomorrow night on the capitol steps. he will join me here tomorrow night on the last word. coming up next, minnesota senator al franken joins me. [ male announcer ] at hebrew national,
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>> i'm honored. >> so you are here because i know you are pushing this transparency issue that you fought for in the banking reform bill. you only got 64 votes in the senate. >> right. >> so of course it didn't become law. >> well, it kind of became law. let's start with what we're talking about here. we're talking about how our financial system is kind of rigged and talking about you know those moody's, standard and poors. >> tell you this is a good investment. >> gave aaa ratings to financial products that were junk. >> like all the bad mortgages that were out there. >> like the subprime mortgage backed securities. and what happened, what it was, there's inherent conflict of interest here, and a bank would issue a financial product and it
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would shop around for a rating agency to give it a aaa. the rating agencies, moody's, fitch, s and p knew if they didn't give aaa to this instrument wouldn't get the next gig and big bucks for giving that aaa rating. it was a total conflict of interest. >> and it was very much part of the collapse. these ratings they were saying, all of this stuff is good, then it all collapsed. >> this is why it collapsed. at a certain point they ran out of subprime mortgage backed securities, so they had nothing else to securityize, they decided to do bets. then they did bets on the bets and bets on the bets. >> and the bets have to be rated. >> they had to be rated, aaa, it was great for everybody, they made a lot of money, but americans lost trillions of dollars, lost their homes, they lost their businesses, they lost
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their pension savings. they lost their jobs. minnesotans lost their jobs because the credit rating agencies didn't do the job they had, the only job they had was to give accurate, objective ratings to financial products. >> you're discussing a wall street issue and people at home go what does this have to do with me? >> well, it created the great recession. so there you go. i mean, people who again lost their homes, their jobs, their businesses, people lost their jobs and lost their self worth and sometimes their families. i mean, and it all goes back to this conflict of interest. it would be like a figure skater bribing the judges, and they're all giving 10s. >> when you do a big banking
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reform bill, you try to get it in there as an amendment. >> yes. i introduced an amendment with roger wicker, a conservative republican, from mississippi, gets 64 votes, 11 republican votes. we go to conference and it gets downgraded, if you will, to a study, which -- >> the house didn't pass a provision like that. senate had it in their bill, house didn't have it. >> i had enough champions in the conference to say the sec will do a study, and if conflict of interest exists after this, they have to do something. and the study came out a few months ago, we're having a roundtable tomorrow. this is why i'm on your show tonight, because i've been following that, i've been pushing this for over two years. >> what are the stakes tomorrow? >> well, this still exists, conflict of interest still exists. >> as the study shows. >> as the study shows.
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now it is time for the sec to act. what we did in our amendment is we set up an independent ward underneath the sec that sec appoints one time, then self regulating after that, for people that do pensions, university endowments, and some people from credit rating agencies and some people from the banking industry and some academics, and they, they choose when a bank puts out a structured financial product, that board chooses the rating agency that does the initial rating on the instrument based on the credit rating agency's expertise, their capacity to do this job, and over some time their track record, so will reward accuracy.
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if the conflict of interest is gone, so it will be paid for performance, not pay to play. and it is time for the sec, we're having a roundtable tomorrow. i'm speaking first. it is time for the sec to get rid of the -- look, i was in wilmer, minnesota this past weekend, dealt with eight or nine leaders in that meeting in central minnesota. they're mainly republicans, you know, the guy owned a contracting business, couple ag businesses, community bankers. they just said look, wall street is fixed. >> yeah. >> and main street, they just don't think about main street. and that is true. and that's what happened here. and i want to end that. i want to protect minnesota's jobs.
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>> is it within the sec's jurisdiction to decide to do this? >> yes, yes. this is -- the law says if conflict of interest is shown to still exist when this study is produced, and it is, that they shall address this, they shall fix this. they don't have to adopt my model, but i haven't seen anything better. >> this reminds me of the legislative fights that come down to the word may or shall. when you get the word shall in there -- >> i fought to get shall in there during that conference, it was very important, they shall do this. we're going to see if the sec, if the fix is in, you know. the sec has a job to do, and they should do their job which is to regulate this. >> three things before you go. the irs so-called scandal. what's your reaction to what we know so far? >> well, look, looking into the 501 c 4s is a legitimate inquiry, should be even handed,
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let's do the investigation, see what happened here. if the irs is being biased and partisan, that's wrong. >> and the other thing that the president addressed today, the benghazi investigations that have gone on, where do you think this story is now in congress and where do you think it should go? i mean, did anything happen in the house hearing last week that made you think there are more questions to ask here? >> well, i guess they're going to be focusing on the talking points in the house. important thing to me is that four americans died and that we have to learn from it so that our diplomats that are doing the work that they're doing overseas who are in dangerous areas are safe as they can possibly be. i think you are right that that hearing in the house showed that they could not rescue those
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people, they could not, no assets close enough proximity to do that. >> and lost is the fact that the pickering report found awhile ago that the state department was at fault for not anticipating the need for more security in that area. >> there is fault to go around. there is not voting enough money, funds to do security, but -- and the pickering commission i think issued like 29 recommendations and the state department says they're going to adopt them all. what's important to me is that our diplomats overseas who are doing tremendous work are safe. >> senator al franken, thank you very much. your first prime time cable news interview. we're here almost every night. you can drop by. >> this is the exception that proves the rule, and it is lawrence, right?
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>> that's correct, sir. i don't expect to see you again for a long time. thank you very much, senator franken. supreme court justice ruth bader ginsberg wishes she could rewrite roe versus wade. what it might mean on how she may vote on the marriage equality cases in front of the court now. hoo-hoo hoo. sir... i'll get it together i promise... heeheehee. jimmy: ronny, how happy are folks who save hundreds of dollars switching to geico? ronny:i'd say happier than the pillsbury doughboy on his way to a baking convention. get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. boom. heart attack. never once did i consider that i might be having a heart attack. it can happen to anyone at any time. the doctor recommends bayer aspirin to keep this from happening to me again.
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supreme court justice ruth bader ginsberg of all people would like to rewrite roe versus wade. she said as much a few times in the past, said it again clearly saturday on a discussion of the 40th anniversary of roe versus wade at the university of chicago law school. she said roe versus wade had, quote, given opponents of access to abortion a target to aim at relentlessly. my criticism of roe is that it seemed to have stopped the momentum that was on the side of change. justice ginsberg said in the past that roe versus wade moved too far too fast. ginsberg herself was a lawyer 40 years ago fighting for abortion rights, but thinks roe was the wrong case for such a historic decision. she wishes the court affirmed the right to abortion that was at issue in that case and that the roe ruling limited itself to overturning the texas law that allowed abortion only to save
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the life of the mother. that was the law that was at stake in that case. ginsberg believes if the court had handled the abortion issue case by case with a series of gradual, progressive opinions, that would have allowed space for state legislatures to step up, provide abortion rights through a democratic process instead of a judicial process. justice ginsberg's criticism of roe includes the principles used to decide the case. she said roe is, quote, about a doctor's freedom to practice his profession as he thinks best, it wasn't woman centered, it was physician centered. but roe also seemed to be centered on practicality. it seemed the supreme court simply felt the country needed a national policy on abortion, that it would not be fair to allow the rights of some women and physicians in some states to be limited compared to the rights of women and physicians in other states.
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now that the dust has settled on roe versus wade and most americans live in states where roe versus wade remains unchallenged, justice ginsberg said this weekend that it wouldn't, quote, matter that much if roe versus wade were overturned. take the worst case scenario, she said. suppose the decision were overruled. you would have a number of states that will never go back to the way it was. let's take a look at what would happen if roe versus wade were overruled. by my political calculus, 33 states would continue to provide reproductive rights under roe versus wade. that's 72% of the population that would still be covered by the current legal regime. today anti-abortion politicians are thriving in 17 states that are identified on the map in yellow. surely some of those states would try to ban abortion if roe versus wade were overturned, but
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probably very, very few of them actually would because anti-abortion politics is allowed to run wild in those states because it is a purely theoretical position. but if a state did outlaw abortion, the question would then be how far would a woman have to drive to exercise her freedom to choose? it is virtually impossible to get an abortion in the dakotas right now. there's usually not more than one physician providing abortion services in north and south dakota at one time. long drives across state boarders to get abortion service is already the norm in the dakotas. if roe versus wade was overturned, none profits would help them get to places where majority of americans would make sure reproductive rights were freely available to all women. today in this country
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reproductive freedom is not nearly as available as the justices in roe versus wade expected it would be, but now abortion isn't really available everywhere in this country, so the justices that thought they were writing the law of the land were writing the law of most of the land and writing essential organizing principles of the two major political parties. more republicans favored abortion rights back in 1973 when roe versus wade was written. opposition to abortion has become a defining principle of the republican party, just as support of roe versus wade has become a fundamental principle of the democratic party. what everyone wants to know now about justice ginsberg's rewriting of roe versus wade is what her comments about that decision indicate about how she
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and the supreme court justices will rule in the same-sex marriage cases the court is considering right now. and for some answers about that, i'll be joined next by linda greenhouse of yale law school, former supreme court correspondent. why let constipation weigh you down? as soon as you feel it, try miralax. it works differently than other laxatives. it draws water into your colon to unblock your system naturally. don't wait to feel great. miralax. take the miralax pledge to feel better sooner.
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we're back. i am joined by linda greenhouse of yale law school, former supreme court reporter for "the new york times." i wanted to get your reaction to what justice ginsberg said this weekend and my summary of it as i just did in the previous segment. >> well, lawrence, as you suggested it is a very complicated historical question, and i think justice ginsberg who has said for many years what she said this weekend in chicago i think has compressed a bunch of facts that my yale colleague and i spent time unpacking, we wrote a book about what actually was going on in the country at the time of roe as you suggested, more republicans than democrats, although a majority of all segments of the population supported abortion reform in 1973, and what happened after,
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so it actually was not the case that abortion reform was rolling smoothly across the country at the time that the court intervened. in fact, it had come to a screeching halt because of catholic opposition, even new york state, bluest of the blue states that reformed abortion law, but catholic opposition led the legislature to repeal the reform and only governor rockefeller's veto kept that reform alive, so it wasn't true. it's almost the mirror image of what's happening today with same-sex marriage where in the absence of a court ruling, minnesota today became the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage. it is really very fascinating. so it is hard to import what happened 40 years ago and subsequently to the fascinating social revolution that we're
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witnessing today. >> but when we look at justice ginsberg and just to make sure everyone in the audience understands this, she's a strong supporter of the results of roe versus wade, as a lawyer herself was fighting for that, arguing in a legalistic way with some politics in it that she doesn't believe roe versus wade was the best case to get us to the point of abortion rights in all 50 states, but when she says she wishes there was a more limited ruling in roe versus wade, does that indicate to us, and the fact she's saying it now and saying it kind of loudly now, even though she has said it in the past, she knows we're all going to immediately say what does this tell us about how she's going to rule on the marriage equality cases, and doesn't this indicate she's going to rule in the narrowest way possible? >> well, i think everybody would be very surprised if the court gave us a wide, nationwide ruling and that the california
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proposition 8 case as opposed to defense of marriage case, the doma case, what she will do herself, i think she's a very wise woman and i think she's well aware that abortion 40 years ago, marriage equality in 2013 are really two different issues and i think -- i don't think she's exercising that there's a strategy or signaling to people here is what i think about roe against wade and here is what i will think about the proposition 8 case in california, but i think it would be surprising if the court as a whole vote broadly in the prop 8 case because it doesn't really have to. there's an off ramp to the case that would allow the lower court judgment in favor of same-sex marriage to stand without having to reach a nationwide ruling. i think a lot of people expect
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that's what's going to happen. >> linda greenhouse, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thanks for having me. outrageous. let's play "hardball." after april 15th is, well, that's over with. you try to believe the system is basically fair, that those progressive rates really mean something, that those irs people who go over your returns really are looking to keep people honest and they're fair about it.
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